A Spoonful of Fennel

Caution: this is not a real post. It's Christmas, I have a million meetings this week, and I'm working on my 2014 Big Hungry Awards. But I didn't want y'all to go a Wednesday without hearing from me. So, just a couple tidbits...

I just bought this. You should get some, too. It's $8.50 on Napastyle.com. On Sunday, I took a brined pork roast from Wegmans, rubbed it with this and some garlic powder, let it sit for a couple hours, then sprinkled grey salt on top and baked it in a 9X13 pan with a head of garlic, cut up potatoes from our garden, and a bunch of carrots all tossed in olive oil, salt and pepper, and I added a couple of tablespoons of water in thebottom just to keep everybody moist, moving, and grooving. 350 for a little over an hour, and it was FABULOUS. 

Fennel is a new flavor for my cooking repertoire, and I'm welcoming it more heartily than I expected. While the fresh stuff has that licorice tone that not everybody likes, the dried stuff is pleasantly sausage-y, a tiny bit sweet, and aggressively good when combined with garlic. I'm excited to have welcomed this little tin of flavor to my pantry for the holiday season.

I made the best cheapo ramen ever this week, and I'm going to let you in on my secret. First off, upgrade ever so slightly from the 30 cent brand and buy this:

This brand also makes a spicy miso flavor I love, but this recipe calls for this. So, start by sautéing some leftover pork (fennel rubbed pork roast works!), julienned, with the whites of a couple scallions in some cooking spray with a little white pepper sprinkled on it, till crispy and brown. To the water I bring to a boil (2 cups), I add about 1/2 a tablespoon of Penzey's pork soup base. You could add chicken base or whatever you have around to boost up your flavor. So get your water boiling, and gently fry an egg to over easy in another pan; I use cooking spray for this to keep the flavor neutral. 

Cook your noodles for three minutes in the enriched boiling water, then remove from heat, add the pork and scallions and any other veg you might have (I had some leftover roasted carrots, but I usually use frozen corn and peas), plus the little seasoning packet. Stir in about 1/2 teaspoon dark sesame oil, chuck it in a big bowl, the top with the egg, the chopped greens of the scallions, and a drizzle of sriracha. Slurp it all down, then send me a thank you note and something pretty. You won't make fun of college student food again for a while.

My Flavour Gallery giveaway is now closed and we have a winner! Congratulations to reader Gwen Carmack! FG confirmed last night that they're getting your t-shirt right out to you. When you get it, will you grab a pic wearing it so we can see? I can't wait!